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Always too much "highs" and no "mid"?
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Lallo
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4th January 2013
Old 4th January 2013
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Always too much "highs" and no "mid"?

When creating a track I try to make the track sound "good" before going into adjusting eq and such.
A problem I have is that my synths always tend to have most energy at 2khz> and I lack a lot of mid (1khz) in my tracks. My tracks sounds clear and full of energy but when comparing with an eq analyzer to other tracks that I think "sounds good" and have nice volume and most important, sound good on a lot of speakers, they always have a lot more mid, or at least very flat eq through the whole spectrum.

If I remove distortion and (just for test) lower the higs in my synths using eq, they always loose so much energy. There are a low of preset sounds that have more energy around the mids but they dont feel energetic enough, especially comparing to the sounds I already have...

Am I doing anything wrong? Should I aim for a energy filled mid section to make a track that will sound good on a lot of speakers? Will the track sound louder with a more balanced eq spectrum?

Here is a track that I feel have a lot of energy and when analyzing it, it's really flat through the whole spectrum, at least at the beginning of the drop (most important part imo).

Hard Rock Sofa & Swanky Tunes - Here We Go (Original Mix) - YouTube
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4th January 2013
Old 4th January 2013
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I'm a little confused by what you're asking here, but here's some advice: You are right about always wanting your track's waveform to be as fat as possible, without clipping of course. The only point at which it probably shouldn't be taking up the whole audio spectrum is maybe the intro, the ending, and during the quieter parts of the breakdown. So yes, to get the "pro" sound and the most volume, you want it to be "flat" through the whole spectrum as much as possible.

In terms of you having trouble with the mid range, here's what has always helped me: CUT frequencies with your EQs, don't boost them! You want to "sculpt" your sound so everything fits--not boost everything into a muddy mess. When you do too much boosting, the high end will often sound overwhelming compared to the rest of the mix.

Finally, don't be afraid to let somebody else take a crack at mastering your song. You might be surprised at how much another pair of ears can help.
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4th January 2013
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I listened to your song and:

Constructive criticism. It's not so much you have a problem with your highs as you have a lot going on in your mix that contain the same frequencies. I feel if you pulled back with so much of that going on your mix would sound better and the song in general. What I'm saying is you have too much going on in your song, it's kind of overload.
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4th January 2013
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From a very quick look I would quote what's been said above. Also, you're hitting the wall a little to hard. I would back up a little and work on thinning some of the instruments to make room in the spectrum.

Also, it seems like you are lacking a lot from 10k+

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4th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albertors View Post
From a very quick look I would quote what's been said above. Also, you're hitting the wall a little to hard. I would back up a little and work on thinning some of the instruments to make room in the spectrum.

Also, it seems like you are lacking a lot from 10k+

Albertos, May I ask what is this Spectrometer you're using? Is it a plugin I can use in Cubase?
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4th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grindonthemind View Post
I'm a little confused by what you're asking here, but here's some advice: You are right about always wanting your track's waveform to be as fat as possible, without clipping of course. The only point at which it probably shouldn't be taking up the whole audio spectrum is maybe the intro, the ending, and during the quieter parts of the breakdown. So yes, to get the "pro" sound and the most volume, you want it to be "flat" through the whole spectrum as much as possible.

In terms of you having trouble with the mid range, here's what has always helped me: CUT frequencies with your EQs, don't boost them! You want to "sculpt" your sound so everything fits--not boost everything into a muddy mess. When you do too much boosting, the high end will often sound overwhelming compared to the rest of the mix.

Finally, don't be afraid to let somebody else take a crack at mastering your song. You might be surprised at how much another pair of ears can help.
I might have confused people with my post, I was in a hurry.

Thank you for your answer, but how should I work to achieve a strong mid without eq? I dont want to use eq more than a few dB + or - here and there (and as you said, removing frequencies is a lot better than boosting). I want the track not to rely on the mixdown too much but to achieve a lot of mid energy with just adjusting my synths and maybe aim for the right sound?

This track I posted is NOT my track. It is actually a professional track which I like really much (and it's released on one of the most respected house labels there is) and the loudness is very impressive. I can however agree that it might sound a bit "too pushed into the limiter" at some points.

This is however the mix I am somehow "aiming" for in the track I'm working right now because I know that this track somehow have a lot mid freq but still the lead and sounds sound pretty "clear" and whenever I remove high freqcuencies in my synths they sound really muddy
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4th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choond View Post
Albertos, May I ask what is this Spectrometer you're using? Is it a plugin I can use in Cubase?
It's FabFilter's Pro-Q. It's a very famous plugin, I am not sure I am totally compatible with the way it "thinks" (visualizers and all that stuff) but it's good.

My demo expires in less than 3 days and I had to use it (and so does my British accent, with it).
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4th January 2013
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I by no means think that I have everything figured out, but here's an idea. Ozone will analyze whole songs for you, which you can then match to your own song. This will give you an idea of what is needed. Over time, you will know what is generally going to be scooped out or added in. My opinion on scooping out frequencies vs adding them is this: scoop out the problems, add flavor. If your eq does a real nice job adding some fairy dust, then use it.
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4th January 2013
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Oh wow then that mix is too busy.
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4th January 2013
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Quote:
My demo expires in less than 3 days and I had to use it (and so does my British accent, with it).
Thank you. Damn about the British Accent, noone will mistake you for James Bond now.
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4th January 2013
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Post what you have that might help us help you.
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4th January 2013
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Ok, here we go. This is Dan Foley's frequency/mastering guide. I honestly can't say how valuable/accurate it is , maybe the more experienced guys could say. I am a beginner, I still need to reference stuff like this.
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4th January 2013
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I think something else that is being overlooked here is your instrument selection and arrangement.

You might just have too many instruments playing in the same octave. I know I used to have a tendency to slap a 101 instruments into a mix because I like that huge full sound. The problem is while your DAW and computer might be able to handle a bunch of instruments, your ears cannot. There are only so many frequencies to use up.

Try re-writing a part or shifting its octave up or down.

Also look to tweak the parameters within your synths as opposed to trying to get the desired sounds you want through outside processing. Again, its easy to turn to your EQ when something just doesn't sound right, but many times it can be better fixed by adjusting the oscillators or the filters within your synth.
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4th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choond View Post
Thank you. Damn about the British Accent, noone will mistake you for James Bond now.
I know, it also makes tutorials far more credible XD

About the song: it's true that sometimes the best solution is the easiest. Well, other times, it's the hardest. And it's a pain. In this case I think this applies..the song isn't "wrong" in terms of sections, but you can work on the arrange and channel mixing to get the picture to work.
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4th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kholland65 View Post
I think something else that is being overlooked here is your instrument selection and arrangement.

You might just have too many instruments playing in the same octave. I know I used to have a tendency to slap a 101 instruments into a mix because I like that huge full sound. The problem is while your DAW and computer might be able to handle a bunch of instruments, your ears cannot. There are only so many frequencies to use up.

Try re-writing a part or shifting its octave up or down.

Also look to tweak the parameters within your synths as opposed to trying to get the desired sounds you want through outside processing. Again, its easy to turn to your EQ when something just doesn't sound right, but many times it can be better fixed by adjusting the oscillators or the filters within your synth.
That's the problem with people having unlimited resources in a DAW. (more or less) I've seen many mixes cluttered with tracks.

If you were in the hardware world only you'd have 5 or 6 instruments playing and you'd be good.
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4th January 2013
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I have the opposite problem, I get good bass and mids but I have trouble getting my highs sounding nice, like always a bit dull.

I keep worrying its my hearing and then remember that other tracks sound fine, just mine have this problem :S
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4th January 2013
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Are you running low pass filters on many of your instruments?

Just like using a high pass to filter out the the really low end, many articles will suggest that its good practice to do the same with the really high end. The problem with doing this is its easy to get carried away because the really high frequencies (10khz+) can be hard for our ears to explicitly detect, so we cut them thinking they're useless. The next thing you know, all of your highs are gone. I used to do this myself.

Don't cut to much below 16khz if you don't have to. If things are building up to bad on the higher end, don't cut them. I personally also don't even really bother always cutting the high end of certain bassier instruments. Since they have such a small amount of high frequencies anyway, I'm not worried about frequency build up so I'm ok with leaving a bit for the sake of adding some air and presence.

Also, don't forget that sometimes the solution to adding what you don't have (frequency wise) isn't about adding to that frequency at all, but instead cutting the other frequencies around it. What I've found is that the lower frequencies can build up really fast which can give the impression that your track lacks mid range and presence. On higher register instruments like leads, try cutting the low end off from somewhere between 250-450. Also try removing peaks in the low end from instruments who's fundamental frequencies do not occupy that space. Simply put, I find myself doing more cutting in the low end, and more boosting (if any) in the higher end, because the frequency build up just naturally occurs more in the lower end due to the that being where most of the fundamentals sit. Finally this regard, maybe try inserting a EQ with a low shelf filter on the master (this is after you've done all of the following). Then roll of the sub 250hz there about by just a 1db or so. Anything more than 3 and you should revisit the mix. Don't rely on this too much, its best to leave the master track alone as much as possible aside from a few tiny little tweaks. It's best to leave that to the mastering engineer.
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4th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by networkacid View Post
I have the opposite problem, I get good bass and mids but I have trouble getting my highs sounding nice, like always a bit dull.

I keep worrying its my hearing and then remember that other tracks sound fine, just mine have this problem :S
Most people have that problem and not the high problem.


I can tell you my solutions.

1) Flat speakers. I create all my patches on the flattest speakers possible so it sounds good on anything.

2) I check my mix on a crappy TV speaker and a crappy tiny Radioshack speakers. If it sounds good on those it's good.
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4th January 2013
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decide if you want a midrange bassline or a mid range snare.

this why 200hz snares started to be used in these genres with mid range bass.

if you want both you can side chain, otherwise it will sound like shoe gaze
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4th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pearlywhites View Post
decide if you want a midrange bassline or a mid range snare.

this why 200hz snares started to be used in these genres with mid range bass.

if you want both you can side chain
If you have moment, Would you mind explaining that to me, do you mean compress both the bass and snares? Also ,can you sort out the separation a little with panning ?
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4th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pearlywhites View Post
decide if you want a midrange bassline or a mid range snare.

this why 200hz snares started to be used in these genres with mid range bass.
It won't be the one single thing that solves your problem (not that it was ever implied, of course) but it's a priceless suggestion. +1.
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4th January 2013
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It's been said many times before, and for good reason. 1st the room, then the monitors.

I used to get so frustrated, because the mix would sound great in the room that I was in, but that was the only room, maybe in the world, where it sounded good.



Quote:
Originally Posted by draven5 View Post
Most people have that problem and not the high problem.


I can tell you my solutions.

1) Flat speakers. I create all my patches on the flattest speakers possible so it sounds good on anything.

2) I check my mix on a crappy TV speaker and a crappy tiny Radioshack speakers. If it sounds good on those it's good.
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4th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lallo View Post
When creating a track I try to make the track sound "good" before going into adjusting eq and such.
A problem I have is that my synths always tend to have most energy at 2khz> and I lack a lot of mid (1khz) in my tracks. My tracks sounds clear and full of energy but when comparing with an eq analyzer to other tracks that I think "sounds good" and have nice volume and most important, sound good on a lot of speakers, they always have a lot more mid, or at least very flat eq through the whole spectrum.

If I remove distortion and (just for test) lower the higs in my synths using eq, they always loose so much energy. There are a low of preset sounds that have more energy around the mids but they dont feel energetic enough, especially comparing to the sounds I already have...

Am I doing anything wrong? Should I aim for a energy filled mid section to make a track that will sound good on a lot of speakers? Will the track sound louder with a more balanced eq spectrum?

Here is a track that I feel have a lot of energy and when analyzing it, it's really flat through the whole spectrum, at least at the beginning of the drop (most important part imo).

Hard Rock Sofa & Swanky Tunes - Here We Go (Original Mix) - YouTube
This track you posted is basically a looped bassline with lots of build-ups. Everything is used like a build-up. Some might say this is an extremely boring one-dimensional track with no music in it. I don't need a spectrum analyser to tell you what you need to do to replicate this as a sound aesthetic though. I think that's what you're asking for here. You need punchy (sampled) drums. You should spend a lot of time picking the right ones. Also, my ears tell me there are no horrible transients in this professionally mastered track. When you're talking about your mixes having lots of highs, it's most likely a problem of unpleasant transients and high frequency resonances. Be aggressive with an EQ.
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4th January 2013
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this doesn't sound very good to me, very busy in the upper mids section

you shouldn't worry so much what spectrums look like, I only use them to give me better idea as to what I'm EQing when I need to be more precise than usual

if it sounds good to you when comparing it to other tracks everywhere you test it then you're good
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5th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmicide View Post
this doesn't sound very good to me, very busy in the upper mids section

you shouldn't worry so much what spectrums look like, I only use them to give me better idea as to what I'm EQing when I need to be more precise than usual

if it sounds good to you when comparing it to other tracks everywhere you test it then you're good
This isn't his track. It was an example of what he thought sounded good. So OP, why don't you link us your track?
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5th January 2013
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Multiband Compression.
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5th January 2013
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Spectrum analysers are useful but first and foremost use your ears. Doing A/B type matching with another artist's track is a great way to assess your own work (or, more precisely, to help you calibrate your ears so that you can be more objective), but do this aurally - experiment with your mix to get the sound right, only rely on a spectrum analyser to bolster your aural assessments in a sort of anecdotal way - don't substitute for good aural judgement or you'll just go around in circles.

Secondly, maybe you need to consider a different "palette" by involving a new synth, if none that you are using have the fat body that you feel you're lacking.

Also, (as people here have mentioned), once you have a synth sound you like, then your arrangement needs to be transparent. If you get a sound you like, don't layer over it - you lose the very effect that you enjoyed in the first place. As always, mixing (but also composing and arranging) are about cutting and trimming as much as anything else.
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5th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choond View Post
If you have moment, Would you mind explaining that to me, do you mean compress both the bass and snares? Also ,can you sort out the separation a little with panning ?
Sorry about the late reply.
(put my back out and been put on a course of dihydrocodeine)

don't know what level you're productions at, but i mean just give everything room in the mix. bare in mind this track sounds mastered for radio.

might be a better thread for the post production forum.
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5th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue Ai View Post
This isn't his track. It was an example of what he thought sounded good. So OP, why don't you link us your track?
thanks but I was already aware of this when I made my comment on the track
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6th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmicide View Post
thanks but I was already aware of this when I made my comment on the track
Yeah what he said
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